All I can say is WOW!!!I've owned approximately 30 different amps,both tube and SS over the years and this Dual Mono Odyssey is far and away the best value I've ever encountered,by far! I'll just echo the two previous reviews and ad that,with a quality tube preamp (BAT in my case) I cant imagine a much better sounding amplification setup for home stereo use.I currently own 4 highly reputable SS amps and since my purchase of the Odyssey,the other three have been kept pretty much on standby...BTW,all that's been said here and other places about Klaus' character is true in my experience as well.Extremely knowledgeable,very kind,and more than willing to talk amps for as long as most would care to.
I have had great sucess with the Odyssey Stratos. I have enjoyed the sound of this fantastic stereo power amp for over 2 years. In those years I have come to enjoy talking to Klaus Bunge. He is the maestro of this great amp.Not only he is always available to talk audio with you but he goes out of his way to really please you. I recently spoke to him about updating my Stratos for the DUAL MONO version. We had told me about the Dual Mono for a few years. In all that time he never presured me to upgrade. I remember him telling me I will hear about 80-100% improvement over the Stratos if you upgrade to the DUAL MONO. I was perplexed at what he said, because I thought the Stratos was a killer amp. Please see all the positive reviews about this amp on this website. other people can't all be wrong.. I decided to take the plunge and purchased the DUAL MONO.I sent in my Stratos and he basically made my old amp into the Dual Mono. He upgraded my boards and transformers, etc. Much to my surprise It only took less than 3 weeks to get my new amp. Klaus has warned me that this amp like all of these Odyssey amps take considerable time to open up. So being familiar with his amps I hooked up the amp to my Audio Research LS 3 preamp and my Ah Njoe Tjoeb 4000 Cd player and waited 1 week to describe the new sound. I have to be perfectly honest Klaus knows what he is talking about. Sound improvement all across the board. The improvement is not SUBTLE. The scary thing about this break in time it sounds great after a few hours. I called Klaus to let him know how pleased I was in the improvement and he said if you are happy now wait until it fully breaks in. Just like he predicted it as if there is a time clock in this amp. The longer I wait and listen the more details I hear everytime I put in a familiar cd. Much more deep and articulate bass notes. The double bass on Patricia Barber's Companion and Cafe Blue cd's are surreal. The heartbeat on the beginning of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon sound supernatural. As far as the midrange goes vocals seem to be right there in your listening room, Diana Krall's voice never sounded so real and lifelike. Same goes for piano notes there is now the proper amount of decay when the artist hits the keys. At the treble level the electric guitars, brass especially saxes sound so real and live same goes for cymbals. I can now really distinguish between types of acoustic guitars. What I am trying to tell you when you use this amp with a great source and feed it through a proper preamp, you will experience musical nirvana. Not taking anything away from the Stratos previously but the difference in the Dual Mono and Stratos is night and day!! It has been a long time since I tap my feet and really get emotional with my cd's. I thank Klaus for bring this great amp to market. I do not know how he does this so cheaply. I am happy I didn't have to remortgage my house to enjoy music again.
This is a no brainer purchase for anyone who wants to experience sound the way it was meant to be heard. I would highly take Klaus' advice and plug this amp directly into your wall outlet. I tried it through a PS Audio Ultimate 300 and it sounded okay. The minute I ran the two plugs (remember it is a dual mono design separate plugs for each channel)into the wall outlet can you say WOW!. I would also highly recommend to get rid of the crappy wall outlets and replace them with Hubbell 5362 outlets or something equivalent. If you can fork up the extra dough get a electrician to run separate AC lines to the outlets make sure to use a good quality 10 gauge wire it will clean up the sound immensely. You have to try it and you will hear a big difference. Even if you do not do the later the sound that comes out using the Dual Mono's in your system will be money well spent. I can honestly say that his amp is a keeper. Don't believe me check out Audiogon.com and see how often a Dual Mono amp from Odyssey goes up for sale and how quickly it sells. That my friends is a testament to its outstanding sound, durability and strength this product has to offer.
In short, the performance of Odyssey dual mono (DM) is incredible. I have auditioned several amps before purchasing this one. I am living in the state of Indiana, and my home is around one hour driving distance from Indy. So, due to the location advantage, I have more opportunities to contact Odyssey.
My amp upgrade journey started around 6 years ago. At the time, Odyssey still used their dealers to sell amps. I compared the Stratos to several SS amps with similar price, e.g., Rotel and Adcom. I found Stratos outperforms the others. However, I wanted a tube amp for music listening. After auditioning a dozen of amps, my amp search ended at Audio Research VT100 MKII which is a highly regarded $5,000 tube amp. The VT100 has become my reference for several years.
Last year (2002), I wanted to build a home theater, and I simply do not want to use my VT100 for HT. I started amp search again, and want am amp can perform HT as well as music. Since I am a music fan, I focus more on music than HT. Again, I auditioned several SS amps, and found that most mid-price amps, e.g., Rotel, B&K, and Parasound, can not satisfy my music listening although they are good for HT. I am an AudioReview frequency viewers and found this web has been very helpful. After searching the web, the Odyssey pops into my sight, and I read every single Odyssey review. Based on the web review and my previous experience, I decided to give Odyssey a try, and my DM arrived a couple of months ago.
This amp is natural. I auditioned the 3 channel Stratos (HT3) before Dual Mono (DM). For music presentation, the HT3 is better than the other mid-price SS amps, e.g., Rotel, Adcom, B&K, and Parasound. HT3 is more musical, and the other SS amps mentioned above sounds more artificial, or electrical. However, I still want a better amp. After talking to Klaus, I decided to upgrade the HT3 to DM. The DM is more than another step higher than HT3. Without a doubt, it is very clean, dynamic, and musical from top to bottom.
Comparing to my reference ARC VT100 MKII tube amp, my experience is similar to Tyson. DM is a bit short on high and mid frequency on transparency. But, the DM bass definition is more solid. When I pair my VT 100 MKII to Thiel, some CDs sound a little too bright. However, these CDs do not sound bright when Thiel is driven by DM. As many Thiel users already said, Thiel requires a lot of current to drive. DM delivers good ample current, but VT 100 MKII is a little short on it.
When I pair DM to Rogers 3/5as, the speakers simply disappear. The mid and high frequencies are so beautiful. With the 3/5 tiny monitors, we cannot expect ample bass too much.
For HT, DM is dynamic as well as accuracy. Many HT fans want 300 + watts amps. DM is 180 watts into 8 ohms but it is nothing short of dynamics. It can drive my Thiel and Paradigm to the ear bleeding level, and I do not see I need 300 + watts amp for my HT. I enjoy every movement on the DVDs I watched with DM. I also ordered a Mono Block to cover my center channel. So, the front 3 channels are seamless. When I listened to the Eagles and James Taylor, I felt I am involved in the concerts.
The DM is an amp for music as well as movie. It is very musical and dynamic. For MSRP $1800, DM is a no brainer. I cannot find any competitor on the amp market under $4,000 to against DM. Some mid-price amps have a lot of power for HT but lack of music presentation. A lot of HT fans discuss how to find a HT amp without sacrificing music enjoyment. I think the DM is the solution. Don’t give me wrong. ARC VT100 MKII (MSRP $5,000) is a still a high praised amp for its transparency in mid and high, but for HT, I justify it.
I am lucky to find Odyssey DM. It was also a pleasure to deal with Klaus. As many users said, Klaus’ service is first rate. He really takes care of customers. When I got my amp in the beginning, the amp had some defects. He provided first rate service to me. For the performance, service, and 20 years warranty, I can confidently recommend the DM to any audio fan without any reservation.
CD and DAC: Rotel 975, MSB Link II, and Monarchy DIP
Pre-amp: Audio Research LS15, Rotel RSP1066
Amp: Audio Research VT100 MK II
Speaker: Paradigm Studio 40 v2, Thiel CS2.3, Roger 3/5a, HSU TN1220 sub
Cable: Harmonic Technology Pro Silway II, Acoustic Zen Satori, Synergistic Research Master AC Coupling, DIY Belden 89259.
AC conditioner: RGPC 400s, PS Audio 300, and DIY AC conditioner.
Beethoven 9 Symphonies, by John Eliot Gardiner, ACHIV
Beethoven Violin Sonatas, Perlman and Ashkenazy, DECCA
Brahms, German requiem, by John Eliot Gardiner, Philips
Dvorak, Cello concerto, by Rostropovich and Karajan, DGG
Faure Requiem, Sir Marriner, Philips
Handel, Messiah, by Pinnock, ARCHIV
Eagles, James Taylor, Gladiator, T2, Titanic, Matrix, Shrek
I experienced an epiphany of sorts with my dual Stratos. I listened to it for about two hours when I noticed, ‘toondar and lighting’, as Ingemar Johannsen used to say, emanating from my amp. This was followed by the dreaded smell of urethane (epoxy) permeating my listening area. I was pretty sure that this was not a design feature of the amp, so I called Klaus and set up a date for it to be repaired.
I mentioned the smell to Klaus, who replied, “Darn, darn.” Both he and I thought it was the left channel power transformer, since he had problems with a batch of these a while back.
Two weeks later, I met Klaus at a Starbucks to pick it up. He said it wasn’t the transformer, but a pair of bypass resistors that had flamed, so it wasn’t a serious problem. He replaced the transformers with those from his current vendor and added some of his newer upgrades. I did pay for the transformers, since the old ones might have failed in situ at some future date. Klaus mentioned that my old version was about 10% off spec, but this rework was right on, so he wanted to hear what I thought about it.
To be very honest, it’s very difficult to hear such small differences in such an excellent piece of gear. In truth, I didn’t hear much for the first twenty hours of use, when I started hearing the true, ‘holographic’ imaging that’s ascribed to the monos. I listen to a lot of FM on my McIntosh 78 tuner and, I swear, it sounds like I’m in the studio.
If I'd noticed any hint of slight upper end thinness of the stereo Stratos, they were now corrected by the dual monos. These just gave violins the correct weight and measure. As with the stereo version, the dual monos are quite revealing, they do not color the sound in any way. All those people who find the stereo Stratos holographic (myself included), wait until you hear the dual monos. These amps will also give you gobs more detail than you heard before.
Another thing about the Stratos amps is that they sound great with a wide range of speakers. I have have used them with six different speaker systems, twelve different cables, four different pre-amps (both tube and SS) and varied sources. I liked all of the combinations. I just prefer certain combinations better than others.
Recently, I built an Aspen AKSA 55 as a reference point for an inexpensive, high-end amp. IMHO, the AKSA in dual mono is close, but can't generate that holographic image the Stratos can. The Stratos may not best a Chord or a Lamm, but it's a heckuva buy.
A final note: this particular incarnation of the dual monos runs about 15 degrees cooler than the ‘old’ transformer version.
I also have to recant something that I mentioned in another post: Klaus no longer chain smokes.
After having enjoyed my HT3 for nearly a year, I jumped on the chance to have it upgraded to dual-mono and never looked back. As great as the regular HT3 or stereo stratos is, I think it only hinted at the extraordinary prowess of the dual-mono.
The DM Stratos (mine comes w/ upgraded Symphonic Line caps)is more meaty and fleshy on the midrange with greater coherence, continuity and fluidity from top to bottom. The presence factor is more pronounced yet relaxed and effortless and refined in its presentation. In addition, it's able to more accurately recreate the atmospheric mood of the recording venue. Soundstaging and imaging is more solid, dimensional, convincing and invites you to close your eyes and just let the music wash over you and like a suave lover seranading sweat nothings into your ears and before you know it steals your heart. From cool and sultry jazz to to heavy hot salsa music and everything in between and beyond, the emotional connection is undeniable. Compare to the Stratos, it is of higher resolution, capable of greater subtlety, yet more dynamically capable and composed. All in all, it is in every way a better amplier which leads to greater musical satisfaction. For all those who hasn't experience a regular HT3 or Stratos, you won't be disappointed. However, if you have the itch, the dual-mono or mono will get you to the next higher plane where you won't look back.
Cabling: Acoustic Zen Matrix Ref int.(L,R), AZ MC2 Digital int., Harmonic Tech Pro Silway MK II (rear surround), Miller sound (C), JPS Superconductor+ Bi-wire spkr cable(main). XLO Signatures and Reference int. (mixer). PS Audio Mini Lab PC, Virtual Dynamic P3 PC.
Others: Monster HTS 5000, 2000. PS Audio: HC Ultimate Outlet, Juice Bar, Power Port. Nordost isolation cones, Black Diamond Racing Cones #IV, Vibrapods, various other isolation feet. Osiris 24" spkr stand, component stands, Lovan Jazz stand, VTI shelf. Statmat, PWB devices, weights on top of sub and CD player and others.
Can anyone comment on the difference between the Odyssey Dual Mono vs. Mono Blocks? I'm planning an upgrade to my Stratos and am not sure which way to go. There is also an Extreme upgrade on the Mono Blocks. What is that?
Thanks.Read More »